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HPU faculty member publishes Christian baseball novel

john nickols with book for webBROWNWOOD – March 4, 2014 – Just in time for spring training, a Howard Payne University faculty member has published “The Last Three Outs,” a baseball novel with Christian themes. The author is John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science at HPU.

Nickols serves as special assistant to the athletic director at HPU and spent many years as a high school and college basketball coach. His sports background and former career as an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation heavily influenced his writing.

“The Last Three Outs” tells the story of Danny Hill, a bright pitching prospect whose baseball career is suddenly threatened by a shoulder injury. According to Nickols, the book loosely parallels the life of Joseph in the Old Testament.

“Joseph’s story has always intrigued me,” Nickols said. “There were many injustices in his life, but God redeemed him in a much greater way. In a very trivial way, the same thing happens to Danny in my story.”

The best part about writing a book, according to Nickols, is the use of imagination.

“It is fun to create something where there was nothing before,” he said.

The book, the entirety of which was handwritten by Nickols on a legal pad before being transcribed to the computer, also features a mafia story and a love connection. The author stated, however, that it was written to be encouraging.

“The book is intentionally Christian,” he said. “There is no profanity. It is a clean and moral story.”

“The Last Three Outs” (Tate Publishing) is available at and Barnes & Noble. There will be a book signing at Hastings in Brownwood on Saturday, April 12, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.


Photo cutline: John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science at HPU, recently published a Christian baseball novel, “The Last Three Outs.”